Warcraft III is without a doubt one of the most influential games of all time, leading to the creation of the world-dominating MOBA genre and the much humbler tower defense. With hundreds of different tower defense games on Warcraft III, Legion TD was certainly one of the more popular. After years of work, the original developers have made Legion TD into a standalone game. Does Legion TD 2 live up to the nostalgia of the custom game heyday?
More Like An Army Defense
Legion TD 2 is not your typical tower defense. In most, you are building a "tower" of some sort - a stationary unit or building that usually attacks - along some sort of pathway enemies run through while the towers rain down damage on them. Instead of towers, Legion TD 2 has you building an army to defend yourself against the waves of enemies.
Because these are units that directly engage your enemies, the dynamics of Legion TD 2 are unlike almost any other tower defense. In most, you don't have to worry about the enemy hitting back. Not only do you have to make sure you have the damage output to take the enemy down, but you have to make sure you have the defenses to survive long enough to do it as well.
When creating that army, you have a few things to consider, as each unit you build has its own unique abilities, damage type, and armor type. Obviously, some damage types do more damage to certain armor types, etc. The same is true of enemies, so that one unit type that is pretty good at soaking damage one wave may get decimated in a different one.
While there are certainly a lot of strategies and much to consider when building that army, it will get stale far quicker than it should. In each game, you will face the exact same series (waves) of enemies every time, with the same health, attributes, etc. So once you figure out a strategy that works, you're set.
With so few armor and damage types, no matter what units you build from the dozens on offer, you're always doing the same thing. You want to make sure you have a balanced army to handle the various damage types. In a way, Legion TD 2 is far too balanced for its own good, leading to a sameyness to each army you build no matter if every single unit type is different than a previous match.
Legion TD 2 does offer some different game modes and mechanics to spice the game up some, however. For example, at any time during a match, you can randomly generate some new unit types to build, replacing some of your current ones. There are also some game modes that randomize the units you build at the beginning of a match or every round. Not having a mode with some degree of randomized enemies to react to feels like a missed opportunity, however.
Competitive at its Heart
By far the most interesting and tactical part of Legion TD 2 comes from its competitive multiplayer mechanics. While you're figuring out your strategy to deal with the waves of enemies, you have the added wrinkle of your opponents sending units of their choosing with a wave to attack you. Of course, you send your own as well.
Choosing what combination of units to send, the amount of them, and on what wave to send them are by far the biggest choices with the most impact on a given match. In the initial waves, you want to send just any old unit, as sending units increases your income, which is used to build units or workers (workers gather mythium you use to send units).
Sending units isn't simply just choosing the most expensive and going from there. Some have special abilities, like healing nearby enemy units on a wave, so strategically choosing when to send them is important. For example, during the combat phase, you can see the makeup of your opponent's army to see what they struggle with. Knowing that, you can save up and time the sort of units you want to send to have the greatest effect and hopefully cause some leaks.
Unfortunately, it feels like it takes forever for any of this to matter, unless you're trying a risky all-in attack early on. You may leak a bit here and there early on if you're not careful, but building up that economy to send units takes an awfully long time to matter. Where a match usually lasts 20 - 30 minutes, it takes a good 10 -15 of that to just get something going. So, the first half, or more, of a match just feels like going through the motions.
Thankfully, you'll have some help with leaks, as a standard Legion TD 2 match pits you and one other person versus two opponents. So, you and your partner are responsible for your individual lanes, each with their own waves of enemies. You can't get too creative in your cooperation, like having one of you focus solely on sending units or something like that, as neither of you will be able to consistently catch all of the other's leaks. Cooperation really just comes in the form of complementary armies that have different strengths and weaknesses and coordinating when to send a bunch of units to your opponents to hopefully cause them to leak.
Legion TD 2 Review | Final Thoughts
Building an army, working with your partner, and sending units all have great potential to allow for strategic depth, but Legion TD 2 lacks the flexibility to really engage with it all. There are a bunch of different units to build, but you're deploying mostly the same strategy every time. Beyond deciding that you'll have a slightly stronger army and your partner has a slightly stronger economy, you can't do much to strategize together. Where many tower defense games have levels that function as a sort of puzzle to figure out, Legion TD 2 is like playing one level over and over trying to perfect it, with some minor randomization thrown in here and there.
Legion TD 2 feels like a Warcraft III custom map that never realized it was no longer constrained by the Warcraft III World Editor. The framework for something really awesome is there, but so far Legion TD 2 is just a straight port from Warcraft III to its own game, at least gameplay-wise. It is a great port of that game into something standalone, but now it's time to build on what they have.
TechRaptor's Legion TD 2 review was conducted on PC with a copy provided by the developer.
- A unique, strategic "tower defense"
- All mechanics work together beautifully
- Great framework for future updates
- Not a lot of staying power
- Does little to grow beyond its roots
- A Warcraft III custom map that should be more